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Please [Paperback]

Peter Darbyshire
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2002
Peter Darbyshire's terse, surreal and often funny first novel fuses the quiet desperation of Raymond Carver with the schizophrenic irony of Thomas Pynchon. In short sharp chapters, Please chronicles the life of a young man who drifts through a hallucinatory world of parties, addictive relationships and jobs that demand he lose his identity. The story is both a satire and a sophisticated critique of an uncaring society. At the same time, it has a surprising and moving heart: it paints a compassionate portrait of one young man's attempt to embrace something real in his life.

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From Amazon

In Please, his debut novel, Peter Darbyshire exposes the amoral lives of urban twentysomethings, soulless casualties of the consumer age who are disconnected from the conventions of the outside world. The book's chapters read more like linked short stories as the unnamed young narrator wanders through a series of misadventures. From stumbling into a religious sex cult meeting to helping a homeless man to please a pretty girl, he approaches each episode with an aimless innocence. He perpetually seeks employment or, better yet, easy money, and at one point he finds work as an extra in educational films. When a staged accident goes horribly wrong, the narrator offers to drive an apparent heart attack victim, Eden, to the hospital for $100. Attempting later to collect the money on another movie set, he finds Eden has just accidentally set an actor on fire. Unmoved, the narrator insists on accompanying Eden to a cash machine on his way to driving the injured man to the hospital.

Credit Derbyshire for refusing to give his hero the moral high ground. The hero himself is a dysfunctional member of his bleak community, motivated by morbid curiosity and frayed survival instincts. He's also haunted by the memory of his ex-wife, Rachel, an equally lost wanderer who enters and exits his life with the unsettling randomness that drives all of the events in this book. Though it occasionally strays into the fantastic, Please is a stunning achievement for a first-time writer. Readers can only hope that Darbyshire's talent has just begun to surface. --Moe Berg

From Booklist

The nameless narrator of this fine debut novel is as luckless as he is bighearted. Over a few short chapters, he gets hooked up with a group of surly sexual fetishists and a minivan-driving drug dealer, learns that his girlfriend is a phone-sex operator, and is propositioned by a man who mistakes him for a male prostitute. The characters whom the narrator encounters are uniformly weirdos and losers, the struggling and the sullen; nevertheless, this is a very funny book. Darbyshire's narrator is frequently unemployed, but he is always running into someone willing to pay him for the oddest of odd jobs: when he is not disposing of dead cows, he is making a few bucks by helping a small-time criminal or serving as an "injured" patient for a local hospital's disaster drills. Although Please is a fully realized novel, its individual chapters could stand alone as strange but moving short stories. Darbyshire plumbs the murky regions of the soul in a novel of dark brilliance. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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I WALKED EVERYWHERE in those days. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I was Pleased July 12 2008
Format:Paperback
I read Peter Darbyshire's Please about two years ago, back-to-back with Barbara Gowdy's collection of short stories, We So Seldom Look on Love. I enjoyed both books and found them very similar. Although Please presents itself as a novel, it is actually a group of short stories about misfits linked by an unemployed twenty-something narrator's wanderings as he muses about life and laments his wife leaving him. Many characters in Please are similar to the narrator in their quest for a better life by taking the road less travelled in hope of an easy score. The characters in the short stories of Barbara Gowdy's We So Seldom Look on Love are also misfits but they are more focused on their goals and are stronger characters than the unfortunates of Peter Darbyshire's Please, so much so, that one story, Kissed, was made into a movie. I think Please would make an interesting movie. Our narrator would be a like Woody Allen from the wrong side of the tracks with too much time on his hands, fumbling his way through life as he becomes involved in the lives of the semi-employed, moving from one job to another. Both works deal with unorthodox love and the individuals who seek it. If you enjoyed either of these two books you should enjoy the other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Treasure May 24 2004
Format:Paperback
Trying to get some Canadian content into my reading repertoire, I headed to the local library where I came across "Please". After reading the first chapter there in the library, I was hooked.
Darbyshire combines wit and satire to produce a hilarious offbeat and thoroughly enjoyable novel. Having a similar style to Joseph Heller, Darbyshire's "Please" reminded me of the timeless classic "Catch 22".
If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable and different read, pick up a copy of this novel. You'll be glad you did!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, witty and downright enjoyable! Nov. 13 2003
Format:Paperback
This is one of the most refreshing, highly readable, laugh out loud novels I have read in a long time. The only fault I can find is it's too short. I found myself reading slowly in order to make it last. Each chapter in itself can stand alone as a short story and they brilliantly come together as a whole.
The main character is this down on his luck chronically unemployed twenty-something guy who pines over his wife who has divorced him. Through flashbacks to the past we learn about his wacky relationship with his ex-wife while in the present he spends time drinking in S&M bars frequented by models, peeping through apartment windows with a blind man, getting robbed by Mormons and going on car chases in pursuit of John Cusack but that's not even the half of it!
If you read this in a public place, you'll find yourself trying to suppress your laughter at some of the deadpan tongue-in-cheek humor. Dabryshire has a sharp wit and is an incredible talent. I can't wait to read more of him.
If you liked Palahniuk's Choke or Banbury's Like A Hole In The Head, then you'll love this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, witty and downright enjoyable! Nov. 13 2003
By bowery boy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the most refreshing, highly readable, laugh out loud novels I have read in a long time. The only fault I can find is it's too short. I found myself reading slowly in order to make it last. Each chapter in itself can stand alone as a short story and they brilliantly come together as a whole.
The main character is this down on his luck chronically unemployed twenty-something guy who pines over his wife who has divorced him. Through flashbacks to the past we learn about his wacky relationship with his ex-wife while in the present he spends time drinking in S&M bars frequented by models, peeping through apartment windows with a blind man, getting robbed by Mormons and going on car chases in pursuit of John Cusack but that's not even the half of it!
If you read this in a public place, you'll find yourself trying to suppress your laughter at some of the deadpan tongue-in-cheek humor. Dabryshire has a sharp wit and is an incredible talent. I can't wait to read more of him.
If you liked Palahniuk's Choke or Banbury's Like A Hole In The Head, then you'll love this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Treasure May 24 2004
By Colin Willey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Trying to get some Canadian content into my reading repertoire, I headed to the local library where I came across "Please". After reading the first chapter there in the library, I was hooked.
Darbyshire combines wit and satire to produce a hilarious offbeat and thoroughly enjoyable novel. Having a similar style to Joseph Heller, Darbyshire's "Please" reminded me of the timeless classic "Catch 22".
If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable and different read, pick up a copy of this novel. You'll be glad you did!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing writing, funny yet touching and real. Feb. 16 2006
By the penguin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is phenomenal. Darbyshire debuts with strong writing and even stronger characters. Best books I have read so far this year.
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